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UTM hosts Tennessee Associaton of Residence Hall conference

By Katie Jarvis
On February 12, 2013

Last week, UTM's Housing Staff was likely to be seen running errands to buy more glitter and paint and talking about only one thing that was happening that weekend: TARH.

Feb. 8-10 was the weekend of the Tennessee Association of Residence Halls (TARH) Conference. This conference brought schools from all over Tennessee to UTM for a weekend of sharing different ideas for residence hall programs and getting to know others from the different schools. The schools that attended the conference included: ETSU, UT Knoxville, UT Chattanooga, University of Memphis, MTSU, Austin Peay, Maryville College, Tennessee Tech University and Lincoln Memorial.

The theme of TARH chosen by UTM was "TARHmageddon."

 "We chose 'TARHmageddon' because it went along with the theme that the end of the world was coming. The schools loved it and showed their creativity with the theme throughout the weekend," said Conference Chair and Host of TARH, Autumn Wilkins.

TARH officially kicked off Friday night in Watkins Auditorium. Ryan Martin and Lindee McCurley welcomed everyone to UTM. Earl Wright, Director of Housing, and Chancellor Tom Rakes spoke about how important the residential assistants are on campus and how they will never fully stop being the leader once out of college.

The next thing was to call roll. But of course, they do not just simply say "here." Each school put together a skit and each was judged based on the creativity, time put into it, and whether or not it was TARH related. Every school was very entertaining, from ETSU doing "Space Jam" to Maryville's interpretation of "Pitch Perfect." Everyone enjoyed the skits for roll call and will remember the fun night.

After the skits, McCurley introduced the keynote speaker, Amy Gallimore. Gallimore is a motivational speaker who travels all over the nation. She was the first Director of Campus Housing at Kennesaw State University, where she led the Fighting Owls in developing and opening their first two phases of campus housing. Gallimore is also a trained auctioneer and shared her story of failing at auctioneer school but picking herself back up and attaining her goal. She entertained her audience and kept them engaged with her witty remarks and upbeat storytelling. She told the RAs in the crowd to stay motivated and do their best at their jobs.

"You always hear the saying, 'Once you start something, you always have to finish it.' I don't believe this is true because being an RA/leader never really leaves you once you're out of college. Sometimes you start something, but it doesn't have to finish," said Gallimore.

Saturday was the day of programs. Each school set up a program to share with whoever signed up to view it. It was a way for every school to see what programs they could adopt in their own curriculum. Later that night a banquet was held in the UC Ballroom and many awards were given out. UTM received the "TARH School of the Year" for the second year in a row. Lindee McCurley, Hall Director of Browning, was named TARH State Advisor; Ryan Martin, Assistant Director of Housing, was named TARH State Associate Advisor; and sophomore Jana Vestal was named TARH State Director.

The weekend of TARHmageddon ended successfully Saturday night with a dance and karaoke.

 "It was definitely a success. It took a lot of work and some stressful moments here and there, but we all worked together to make it run smoothly," said RA and senior Brittany Bennett.

All in all, TARH was a success thanks to the housing staff. UTM was very excited to host the conference, and is very proud of the leaders on this campus.

To view pictures from the event, follow TARH on Twitter: @TARH2013.

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